Der Nobelpreis-Kult

OSLO – Der Tanz um die goldene Nobelmedaille begann vor 100 Jahren und hat bis heute nichts von seiner Beliebtheit verloren. Als Ikone, Mythos und Ritual ist der Nobelpreis bestens eingeführt, aber was wissen wir wirklich darüber?

In früheren Zeiten umwoben vom Schleier des Geheimnisvollen und der Legende, wurde der Nobelpreis erstmals nach 1976 Gegenstand seriöser wissenschaftlicher Untersuchungen, nachdem die Nobel-Stiftung ihre Archive geöffnet hatte. Die anschließenden Untersuchungen der Wissenschaftshistoriker förderten eines zweifellos zu Tage: die Geschichte des Nobelpreises ist eine Geschichte menschlicher Unzulänglichkeiten.

Obwohl viele Beobachter bei den Literatur- und Friedensnobelpreisen ein gewisses Maß an Subjektivität in Kauf nehmen, wurden die Wissenschaftspreise lange Zeit als objektives Maß wissenschaftlicher Exzellenz betrachtet. Doch die für die Verleihung der Preise in Physik und Chemie zuständige Königlich Schwedische Akademie der Wissenschaften sowie das für die Medizin/Physiologie-Preise verantwortliche Karolinska Institutet haben ihre Entscheidungen von allen Anfang an auf Grundlage der Empfehlungen ihrer jeweiligen Komitees getroffen. Und von maßgebender Bedeutung für deren Entscheidung war dabei das Wissenschaftsverständnis der Komitee-Mitglieder selbst.

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